Hearing problems, or hearing loss, is thought to affect more than 28 million Americans aged between 60 and 74. Recent studies published by the Journal of Nutrition report that studies in Australia have found that a lack of folic acid, a B vitamin, is linked to the susceptibility of age-related hearing problems. In particular, low serum levels of folate were found to be linked to the loss of hearing at high frequencies.
Hearing Problems Linked to Folate Deficiency study finds.
The study was taken on 3,000 participants aged 50+ and found that low levels of folate in the blood were associated with an increased risk of hearing loss. Researchers at the University of Sydney examined blood levels of folate, vitamin B-12 and homocysteine and correlated this with the risk of age-related hearing loss. The data showed that folate levels below 11 nanomoles per liter were associated with a 34% increased risk of age-related hearing loss and levels of homocysteine over 20 micromoles per liter were associated with a 64% increase in the risk of hearing loss. Homocysteine levels can easily be controlled by maintaining correct levels of one of which is B9, also known as folate.
Earlier studies at the Waheningen University in the Netherlands in 2007 similarly reported that folic acid supplements were found to delay age-related hearing loss in the low frequency region.
Folate is essential for the maturation of red blood cells and prevention of anemia accoding to the National Institutes of Health. Lack of folate may be due to an imbalanced diet or malabsorption of the folate which is consumed. Folic acid is found naturally in leafy green vegetables, fruits, romaine lettuce, peas, dried beans, nuts and in cereals and breads which are made of folate-enriched cereals. Folic acid can also be taken as a dietary supplement such as is recommended for pregnant mothers. In poorer countries where malnutrition is a problem, these findings may be particularly relevant and would be relatively easy to implement as a preventative program for hearing loss in the elderly using vitamin health supplements.